Review: This Country, Episode 3, BBC Three (And BBC One)

I was chatting to someone on Facebook about sitcoms this morning and they suggested that the episode of Hancock where he sits around on the sofa all day and nothing happens is one of the weirdest comedies he’s seen. Well maybe he should watch this week’s deliciously bleak episode of the bored-youth-in-the-Cotswolds mockumentary This Country, where most of the action, if that's the right word for nothing happening, takes place in the kitchen while Kerry’s turkey dinosaurs and Kurtan's pizza cook.

Pasty-faced cousins Kerry and Kurtan are sitting around waiting for Uncle Nugget to get back from prison. Kerry looks up to her uncle and has even prepared a banner that says “Justice” because she feels he was “wrongly incinerated for having a laugh”. Well, if you can describe stealing a bus in Swindon and holding the passengers hostage a laugh…

While they wait they bicker, get Kerry’s bedridden mum to scream the word “tomato” which they find hilarious and chat about monkeys going into space and getting lost. When Kerry is not around though Kurtan expresses some concern about Uncle Nugget’s anger management issues: “He gets a bit cross,” he says, after recounting an incident when Nugget frogmarched him to a cashpoint after the pubs had closed to get him £200. Next time they go out, Kurtan adds, he is going to leave his card at home. So he is not completely unaware.

It’s a lovely script, with echoes of Victoria Wood, written by the stars, Charlie Cooper and Daisy May Cooper. It does tread a very thin line between sympathy for these marginalised kids and comic piss-take at their stupidity, but it just about gets the balance right. 

And as the series goes on it might seem as if nothing is happening, but you do learn more about Kerry and Kurtan. They may be fictional but they are so convincing you start to care about them as you watch them get things hopelessly wrong. You can see why they look so pasty, they don’t seem to eat any proper food. By the end of this episode it is not just Uncle Nugget who is incinerated, it is also Kurtan’s pizza.

Watch here and on BBC1 on Saturday nights after Match of the Day.

Read review of Episode 1 here.

Read review of Episode 2 here.



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